Cook the Book: Sonoran Hot Dogs

[Photograph: Caroline Russock]

Living in San Diego I had my first encounter with the Sonoran hot dog. Every weekend night a vendor would set up his cart across the street from our go-to bar an hour or two before last call. From just after midnight until well after 2 a.m. he'd grill up bacon-wrapped hot dogs and finish them with pickled jalapeños and your choice of red or green salsa. Even in a town with 24-hour taco shops on pretty much every corner, these hot dogs were some of the best late-night snacks around.

Sadly, moving to New York City has left a hole in my heart when it comes to this specific breed of hot dogs. To satisfy my craving I decided to give Robb Walsh's version from The Tex-Mex Grill and Backyard Barbacoa Cookbook a try.

At first glance this recipe for Sonoran hot dogs might seem like a lot of work for just a few dogs, but when you think about it, making a big batch of refried beans and a few cups of salsa verde isn't necessarily a bad thing, especially if you're planning on serving a few more Tex-Mex meals in the upcoming week.

One of the most important steps in this recipe is finding a roll that can handle all of the toppings that go on top and underneath of these bacon-wrapped dogs. Walsh recommends a torpedo roll or—even better—bolillos, if you live near a Mexican bakery. Once the hot dogs are sizzling away in their bacon wrapping you can set about lining the split rolls with refried beans, chopped avocado (or guacamole), and a sprinkling of cheese. Lay the dogs in the buns, then top with chopped onion and tomato, salsa verde, and a lemon and chile-spiked mayo.

The finished dogs are truly a sight to behold, giant and stuffed to the gills with a rainbow of toppings. I'm usually one to put away more than a few hot dogs, but I could barely handle more than one and a half no matter how badly I wanted to.

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Cook the Book: Sonoran Hot Dogs

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About This Recipe

Yield:4

Ingredients

  • 4 teaspoons mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon Tabasco or other hot sauce
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 4 all-beef wieners (fat ones work better than long ones)
  • 4 slices extra-thin bacon
  • 4 torpedo rolls or bolillos
  • 4 tablespoons warm refried beans (recipe follows)
  • 8 tablespoons chopped avocado or guacamole
  • 4 heaping tablespoons grated jack or cheddar cheese
  • 4 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 tablespoons chopped tomato
  • 4 tablespoons Salsa Verde (recipe follows)
  • 1/4 cup lard, bacon grease, or vegetable oil
  • 3 cups drained cooked pinto beans
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup reserved bean broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound tomatillos, husked and washed
  • 1 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 3 fresh serrano chiles, seeded and minced
  • 1 cup minced sweet onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • Pinch of sugar
  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Sea salt

Procedures

  1. 1

    Mix the mayo, Tabasco, and lemon juice and use a funnel to put the mayo blend in a squeeze bottle. Wrap the wieners with the bacon slices so the sausage is completely covered. Cook the wieners on a comal or flat top, rolling them over until the bacon is crunchy on all sides, about 7 minutes. Cut a pocket into the buns to form a "boat" and toast them on the grill. When the wieners are cooked, divide the beans and avocado among the four rolls, spooning them inside the pocket and spreading on either side. Spread the cheese down the middle. Using tongs put one piping-hot bacon-wrapped wiener into the pocket of each roll. Top each wiener with onions and tomatoes. Spread the Salsa Verde across the top. Apply the mayo blend in squiggles across the top of the hot dog.

  2. 2

    Refried Beans

  3. 3

    - makes 3 cups -

  4. 4

    Melt the lard in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Allow to heat for another minute, then add the beans and mash them for 2 minutes with a fork or potato masher. Stir in the 1/2 teaspoon of salt (or to taste). Add the bean broth and the pepper and continue mashing until the beans reach the desired consistency. Tex-Mex beans are generally chunky rather than soupy.

  5. 5

    Salsa Verde

  6. 6

    - makes 2 cups -

  7. 7

    Put the cleaned tomatillos in a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then turn off the heat and allow the tomatillos to soak for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, drain, and purée the tomatillos in a food processor. Add the cilantro, serranos, onion, garlic, sugar, and lime juice to the food processor and pulse three or four times to combine. Season with salt to taste.

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